A special treat: B.C. Ferries’ clam-chowder recipe

Here it is: B.C. Ferries’ own clam-chowder recipe.

Search for it online and you’ll see a number of guesses on how it is made. B.C. Ferries agreed to share the recipe this week with Times Colonist readers.

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These days, there are two clam-chowder recipes served on board ferries. One is White Spot’s proprietary recipe served on the major routes.

The original recipe is served on the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert run, the Powell River to Comox route and the Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii service.

If you make the B.C. Ferries Manhattan Clam Chowder, send a photo of it for us to post with this recipe. Send to: localnews@timescolonist.com, with clam chowder in the subject field. 

B.C. Ferries Manhattan Clam Chowder

Makes three litres

160 grams ham, diced 

743 grams potatoes, diced 

335 grams carrots, diced

590 grams onions, diced

335 grams celery, diced

263 grams green pepper, diced

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp crushed thyme

1 litre water

252 grams tomato paste

650 gram scanned whole tomatoes (crushed)

57 grams chicken base

750 ml canned clam nectar

185 ml water

270 grams flour

1 tsp Tabasco sauce

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

900 grams clam meat, chopped

1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped


1. Sauté ham, potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, and green pepper in a saucepan until vegetables are tender and onions become translucent (approximately 5 to 10 minutes).

2. Add garlic powder, white pepper, thyme, 1 litre water, tomato paste, tomatoes, chicken base, and clam nectar; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer

for 30 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3. Combine 185 ml water with flour and add to the soup slowly, stirring constantly.

4. Add Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, clam meat and parsley; gently fold in ingredients to incorporate.

5. Return soup to a simmer and serve.

6. Ensure leftover soup is cooled safely and correctly.


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Readers comment:

Made it last night but have to tell you the recipe sucks! First of all, most of us do not have appropriate metric measuring tools so I had to convert almost every quantity. Second — BIG problem — recipe says it makes 3 litres ... I cut the recipe in half and still had way more than 3 litres — enough to feed at least a dozen people. Last, it really didn’t taste that great — the clams got lost in the ham. Oh, and if you put in the amount of flour that the recipe called for, you could eat it with a fork.

Sam Brownlee

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I appreciate the B.C. Ferries Manhattan clam chowder recipe, but wonder if you couldn’t have passed it by food columnist Eric Akis first before publishing. He could have translated the weird measurements (743 grams of potatoes? 263 grams of green pepper? 57 grams of chicken base, whatever that is?) into cook-friendly amounts. Cups and portions thereof, for instance.

Maybe the ferry folks want the mystery of their chowder recipe to remain a little longer, as we need plenty of time with calculators to figure it out.

Vivian Smith

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I so appreciated B.C. Ferries’ Manhattan chowder recipe. The secret ingredient for me is the ham. I never would have included that on my own. Thank you, thank you, chef(s).

Having studied under professional chefs in the past, I know that the “currency” of serious cooks is the metric system. This derives from the European system of weights and measures. And Canada went metric when?

B.C. Ferries kitchens deal in vats of chowder. Going to the trouble of giving us home cooks manageable household measures took time out of their incredibly busy schedules. Again, thank you so very much to all involved.

Jill MacArthur

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